The other week I received an enormous white carrot looking thing in my Pinckney’s Produce box. It was a daikon, and I wasn’t entirely sure how to use it so I turned to the powers of the internets. A big hit that came up was to make Do Chua, or pickled daikon and carrots. I picked up some carrots at the store and got to work with my mandoline to make short work of it and followed this recipe from the Chubby Vegetarian (which also has a short history of banh mi, the sandwich I am going to discuss after this awkward bridge sentence).
In the jar and mixed with the carrots it looks like fun confetti! Then it got sent to the fridge to pickle for 24 hours while I made something else for dinner that night.
When you open it the next day and stick your nose in, eager for a whiff of your fun new pickled creation, it’s going to smell like a fart, but still taste delicious. It’s very similar to egg salad in that respect. Unrelated: put pickles in your egg salad.
There were several recipes for a vegetarian banh mi sandwich that I considered (like this one- gonna try that tofu recipe soon though, but I didn’t want to use broccoli slaw on mine!) and this one (focused too much on the tofu prep rather than the sandwich), and in the end made my own version, though it did mostly resemble the one from the Chubby Vegetarian, except I did NOT use mushroom pate because I hate mushrooms with a passion that should be directed towards something other than hating a fungi. So here’s my sammie, version one which is on a hunk of French bread. On the left bun is savory baked tofu from Trader Joe’s that I pan fried, topped heave handedly with the Do Chua. The right bun is sporting mayonnaise and sriracha mixed together and slathered on the bun, lots of fresh cilantro, and it also has invisible-in-these-photos thinly sliced cucumber rounds. Also not visible is a squeeze of lime, then the two sides were put together and thoroughly enjoyed. The flavors were masked a bit by the sheer amount of bread, so I took to the next sandwich in a different style…
Orowheat Sandwich Thins came in to play here because the flavors really do intermingle so well together. I don’t know why first combined these things but I am so glad they did. Thanks, French people for colonizing part of Vietnam (I shouldn’t say this, it probably was a terrible war event or something that I am not going to bother looking up
right now ever). It looks a little sad because it’s so flat but this version was the winner because I didn’t have to fight through a mouthful of fluffy bread. And you can see the cucumber slices here!
I will say that these sandwiches are the kind that you want to eat a few of in one sitting, or make for a couple of people at once because of the amount of ingredients you have to pull together to make it possible, but it is a quick meal once you have the Do Chua made. It only requires a quick pan frying of the tofu, and a small amount of slicing from the cucumber and the cilantro, but it’s so worth it. Do Chua lasts up to a month in the fridge, and if you get fresh cilantro from the store, the best way to get it to last a while is to put the stems in an inch of water in a glass, then cover with a plastic produce bag and stick in the fridge. Refresh the water when it gets low. My 99 cent bunch of cilantro has lasted nearly a month now, though it has dwindled as I’ve eaten more banh mi.
And that’s the story of banh mi. I think I might be back to more regular and food centered posting now. Hooray.